Estate Planning of SC, LLC

Estate Planning of SC, LLC :: Blog

Archive for January, 2009

The Goal of this Blog

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Early last year, I discovered that there are things more important than how many hours you sit at the shiny desk in your associate’s office at the big firm, and that sometimes just the ability to help people who need it in this area of law is enough – or more than enough.  I opened my own practice soon after that realization.  I discovered that I wanted to practice law in a way that allows me to help my clients without always thinking about my collections goal.  Sure, getting paid is essential – no small practice can survive solely on charity, but I want to provide the best client service on a smaller scale. I invite you to make this journey with me, as I grow my practice into the future.  Some of my posts will be about estate planning and probate administration – with almost eight years of experience I have lots of stories to tell – and some of them will be about my practice and the latest and greatest.

A New Year, New Rules

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

As of January 1, the Estate Tax Exemption has been increased to $3.5 million per person.  As a result, those persons whose estate plans create trusts based upon the exemption amount need to review their plans to ensure that their planning goals are met.

For example, a Husband has a Will that creates two trusts when he passes away, a Marital Trust for his wife for her lifetime, and a Family Trust (also called a Credit Shelter Trust) for his children from his first marriage.  These trusts are funded by language that is based on the estate tax exemption.  This worked well years ago when the plan was drafted, when the estate tax exemption was only $1.5 million, leaving $1.5 million directly to the children by a prior marriage and the balance of Husband’s estate to the Marital Trust for his wife.  However, with the increase this year, the formula actually disinherits his wife, leaving his entire estate to his children.

If your estate plan leaves property to a Family Trust that provides for the surviving spouse and the children, you may want to consider revising the trust to provide that the spouse’s needs are to be considered primary and that the children’s are considered secondary in order to give the Trustee some idea of what your intent.  This works well in a first marriage.

Please call us to see if you need to revise your estate plan based upon the new exemption amount.